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8 Ways College Students Can Cope With the Post-College “Real World”

Nobody talks about how shocking it feels to go from college student to recent graduate. There is so little said about the mental agony that descends on the post-college “adult.”
The mental and emotional pain of outgrowing friends, of feeling unsatisfied with reality, and of the label ‘college student’ becoming a distant memory as ‘adult’ takes it place. Where do college students and post-college grads turn to for advice on how to get through these real-world adult issues?
Many of us have turned to meditation, yoga, or other spiritual methods to help process these changes. However, these things make us dive even deeper into the enigma of ourselves. Yes it is a beautiful and ultimately beneficial process, but without having a solid ground to put your feet on, it could make you feel even more lost or confused.

Here are some things you may be struggling with if you are going through these #adulting growing pains:

  • Outgrowing old friendships, therefore leaving you to feel lonely and out of place. Drama might not seem interesting, and solitude might be preferred, but the balance between being alone and being lonely can be hard to find.
  • Clashing with your significant other, either in attempt to resist your expanding world views or challenging them to take in the world through a new lens.
  • Loss of interest in your old hobbies. Somehow that sitcom isn’t as funny as it was before, the book you’re reading isn’t as engaging, your favorite music doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • Your job seems unimportant and miserable, but there’s nowhere else you’d really like to – or can – work right now.
  • A growing consciousness might encourage you to change your eating or sleeping habits, forcing you to adjust your budget of both time and money.
  • General dissatisfaction coupled with short bouts of “everything is fine, what am I blabbering on about?”

Does this all sound familiar? If you’re going through a rough “transition period” after college (or for college students with graduation quickly approaching), what is there to do about it? How can you cope?

Here are 8 ways to cope with personal and spiritual growth in the “real world”:


1. Talk about it

Have you ever asked a question about something you were confused about, only to realize that after reading or saying it out loud, it made total sense? Life can be that way too. Sometimes you just don’t know what you feel until you verbalize it.

2. Try new things

There’s only one way to find out if you really like something, and that is to DO IT! Do you think you might like CrossFit? Take a class. Are you considering a career change? Intern or volunteer somewhere to see if it fits you. Are you thinking of moving across the country? Go on a trip and imagine you’re about to move there . . . how does it make you feel?

3. Think outside the box

Don’t put limits on yourself when you’re still only brainstorming!

4. Write it all down

Today you might feel completely different about the life-decision you thought you made yesterday. Writing everything down puts it all on record, and it also works similar to number one’s advice in figuring out what the heck your thought process is.

5. Ask questions

Talk to friends, parents, or people you admire about how they got to where they are. Frequently, following in someone’s footsteps can lead to your very own path or make it clear that this one isn’t for you.

6. Save money

It’s easy to fall into the habit of retail therapy and going out to lunch when things aren’t going well, but learning to budget in a way that allows you to put a few dollars in savings every month will help you at any stage of your life. You should be able to have enough money saved that you aren’t held back because you can’t afford to move or to take a temporary pay cut.


7. Move your body

Bring it all to the yoga mat – and leave it there. Patience, mindfulness, breathing through discomfort – these are all things that are practiced in yoga and other forms of exercise. Sometimes working through something physically can help you overcome spiritual obstacles and emotional struggles.

8. Learn to be patient

This one is infinitely easier said than done, but experience takes time! Even if you are out there trying new things, heeding advice from others, and writing it down . . . everything takes time. Remember – time is relative, and everyone grows at a different pace. Have faith in yourself and your journey.

College Student or Adult, You Can Find the Confidence to Navigate This Transition

If you are doing all of these things, trust that you are building a foundation for yourself to thrive in when the time comes. Hopefully, you can find some solace in the fact that you are not alone in the effort to discover a life that’s right for you.
Growth is often painful but it doesn’t last forever. Use these suggested ways to cope and empower yourself to make it to the next step of your adventure.

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Teresa Adele

Teresa is a 200hr RYT, writer, and a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. As a teacher and coach, she focuses on self-love, body positivity, and embracing challenges. She loves writing about the science behind holistic healing modalities, creative sequencing, and making whole-body wellness more accessible for everybody.

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